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    Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Standoff Continues (463)
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    Israel launches ground assault on Gaza, Russians buy less foreign currency, GLONASS stations may appear in South America, U.S., Germany fully disagree over spying, Ukrainian refugees continue to arrive to Russia, North Korea launches ballistic missiles test. These issues in Voice of Russia's daily Press Review.

    Israel launches ground assault on Gaza, Russians buy less foreign currency, GLONASS stations may appear in South America, U.S., Germany fully disagree over spying, Ukrainian refugees continue to arrive to Russia, North Korea launches ballistic missiles test. 


    Since the deterioration of the Gaza Sector situation, Israel has been targeted by over 800 missiles; it has retaliated with over 360 missiles, Izvestia reports. According to the daily, one hundred sixty six Palestinians died and over a thousand were injured; there were 20 people heavily injured in Israel. The next step in the conflict was launch of the ground assault by Israel. The country's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that there was no concrete timeframe for the ground military operation and that it could take a long time. Meanwhile, Israeli Air Force has spread leaflets over the Gaza Sector, urging the citizens to leave their homes. The daily reports that according to UN Data, around four thousand citizens decided to take this advice. Moreover, around 800 Palestinians with foreign passports have been evacuated – this includes citizens of Australia, Britain and the United States, the article notes. July 13 operation resulted in Israel spec ops units destroying missile launch facilities; four Israeli soldiers were lightly injured. Israeli political scientist Alex Selskiy told the daily that the bulk the armed forces are in no rush to enter Gaza sector as they want the civilians to vacate the area first to minimize casualties. "However, HAMAS prohibits them from leaving Gaza, essentially, creating a human shield".

    RBC Daily reports that Russians are no longer frantically buying foreign currencies, reminding that the trend skyrocketed following the Ukraine crisis: when Crimea joined Russia, the ruble's exchange rate plummeted. In March Russians purchased fourteen point three million dollars worth of Euro and US Dollar. By April the trend slowed down with the figure being in the range of nine point four million; in May Russian citizens exchanged less than nine million dollars worth of rubles. On the other hand, those who did buy foreign currency are in no hurry to exchange it back into the ruble, the newspaper writes. Petr Milovanov, dealer from Metallinvestbank, explained: "It is mostly oil and gas companies which sell foreign currency; they sell their goods for dollars on the market, but they need rubles to pay taxes and fund their operations in Russia." Experts believe that for now common citizens will hold on to foreign currency in the form of savings.

    Moskovskiy Komsomolets writes that Russian GLONASS stations – ground-based facilities improving the quality of Russia's alternative to GPS – are likely to be located in America after all, despite the United States prohibiting construction of GLONASS stations in the US. Russia's President Vladimir Putin visited South America, and is returning with agreements with Cuba and Nicaragua, as well as a promise made by Argentina's president Cristina Kirchner to think over the proposal to build satellite navigation stations. The daily notes that Putin's interest in deploying GLONASS facilities in the Americas is understandable – Russia will be unable to turn the navigational system into a truly global contender to GPS unless there are terrestrial stations in the Western hemisphere; and there is already progress in this regard, as Brazil was the first country to host a station outside of Russia. 

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that new allegations of U.S. spying showed Berlin and Washington were completely at odds over how they viewed the role of intelligence, adding that she hoped German action would persuade the United States not to spy on partners. The Washington Post reports that her comments to German broadcaster ZDF came two days after her government told the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country, in a dramatic display of anger after German officials discovered two suspected spies. The daily reports that on Friday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that "when differences arise, we’re committed to resolving those differences through the established private channels. We don’t believe that trying to resolve them through the media is appropriate." end quote According to the daily, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said Friday that the German defense official under investigation was in contact with a U.S. State Department officer rather than U.S. intelligence agencies, raising questions about whether any espionage occurred. The other man is still in custody after being arrested for espionage.

    More than 22,000 Ukrainian refugees are currently taking refuge in temporary shelters in Russia, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshenko stated on Sunday, The Moscow Times writes. Explaining that 817 refugees had crossed into Russia in the past 24 hours, Drobyshenko said five additional shelters had been constructed in that time to accommodate the influx. The spokesman added that over 22,000 refugees are currently residing in 326 temporary shelters. The daily reminds that a state of emergency was declared in six southern Russian territories in Thursday, as refugees continued to arrive on massive scale. The newspaper notes that refugee statistics has been a point of contention since the political crisis in eastern Ukraine turned into an armed conflict in March. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev lashed out at the U.S. State Department last week for suggesting that the refugee situation may not be as dire as is portrayed by the Russian media. "There are a huge number of refugees. Tens of thousands. People are fleeing from war. American propaganda claims they were going 'on holiday to their grandmothers.' [Such] cynicism knows no limits."

    The Telegraph reports that according to South Korea officials, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea on Sunday. The daily suggests this is the latest in a series of test-firings seen as expressions of anger over the North's failure to win talks on receiving outside aid, and over US-South Korean military drills. The missiles, believed to be of Scud variations, were fired from the North Korean city of Kaesong near the border with the South and had a range of about 311 miles, said a South Korean military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of department rules. The newspaper writes that North Korea experts said it was highly unusual for Pyongyang to fire missiles from a city just 12 miles from the heavily fortified border separating the two Koreas. The North usually test-fires missiles launched from its eastern port city of Wonsan, about 80 miles from the border.

    Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Standoff Continues (463)
    Izvestia, Hamas, The Telegraph, RBC Daily, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, GLONASS, Dmitry Medvedev, South America, Gaza Strip, Angela Merkel
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